Nobody needed to tell JJ Redick he was struggling. The 13-year veteran was painfully aware.
In the five games since the All-Star break, Redick was shooting 25 percent from the field and from three. For a guy whose game is predicated on making shots and creating space, the Sixers felt that pain as well.
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But on Tuesday, Redick showed what he brings to the table in the team's 114-106 win over the Magic at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).
"Great shooters shoot," Brett Brown said. "He's having a hell of a year. Had a few games where he was not himself. Some of that you give credit to the Golden State Warriors as an example. Other bits it's just part of an 82-game, six-month season. He will respond. He's that competitive and that good that you make a few baskets and it seems like a distant memory of some downtime that you might have had.
"Tonight he got us going and had an excellent game."
Redick got off to a blazing start but cooled off a little in the second half. He finished 8 of 16 and 6 of 9 from beyond for 26 points.
While this sort of thing happens to even the best shooters in the game - a category Redick clearly falls into - he was feeling pretty down on himself after scoring a season-low six points in a loss to Golden State. The Warriors barely escaped Philadelphia with a win. If Redick hits another shot or two, perhaps the outcome is different.
But thanks to therapeutic activities like playing LEGOs with his sons and some words of support from some special people, he was able to snap out of his funk.
"Fortunately, I'm a hopeful person, I'm an optimistic person," Redick said. "Also got some great words of encouragement from a few different people, including my wife - which is very rare because she does not really care about basketball - but she was nice enough to give me some encouragement."
Just then, Tobias Harris emerged from his locker, raising his arms behind the media scrum to signal to Redick.
"Tobias, too. I was getting to you, bro!" Redick said. "Tobias and I had a nice chat this morning, but some of it is just battling yourself."
There's been a lot made of Redick's struggles, which are exacerbated by his defensive deficiencies. Brett Brown took blame for not getting Redick enough opportunities. He also pointed to the absence of Joel Embiid as a part of the reason for Redick's shooting woes.
Maybe those are factors, but Redick has been around long enough and knows that the mental aspect of the game is what matters most to shooters.
Redick has made 1,647 threes in his NBA career. Since he entered the league in 2006-07, only five players have hit more. If you think a five-game slump was going to keep him from firing, you got another thing coming.
"Sometimes you get to the end of a game you're like, ‘Holy s---, what just happened? I was bad.' It eats at you," Redick said. "I always think I'm going to make a shot when I'm taking it and I always think I'm going to make the next shot when I'm taking it. That never really changes."
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